Keep a watch on your words, my brother,
for words are wonderful things;
They are sweet, like the bees’ fresh honey;
like the bees, they have terrible stings.
They can bless like the glad, warm sunshine,
and brighten a lonely life.
They can cut in the strife of anger;
yes, like a two-edged knife.
Let them pass through your lips unchallenged,
if their errand be true and kind,
If they come to support the weary,
to comfort and help the blind.
If a bitter, revengeful spirit, prompts the words,
let them be unsaid.
They may pass through the brain like lightning,
or fall on the heart like lead.
Keep them back, if they are cold or cruel,
under bar, and lock and seal;
The wounds they make, my brother,
are always slow to heal.
May Christ guard your lips, and ever
from the time of your early youth,
May the words that you daily utter
be the words of the beautiful truth.
Taken from “The Serpent’s Fang” by S. Lee Flowers,
© 1925 by Beacon Hill Press, used by permission